Autism (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition. It can affect how a person might socially interact, behave or communicate. Autism Spectrum Disorder is not a disease but can affect a person's quality of life. The condition can manifest in many ways, usually starting early in childhood. The level of support the affected people require might also vary from person to person. Sometimes the signs might become more obvious in adulthood. The symptoms or signs associated with the condition are varied and this condition might often see a misdiagnosis.
With no uniformity seen in symptoms and there being no lab test or brain scan that could help in diagnosis, it might be commonly confused with other conditions and sometimes other conditions might be confused with autism. The symptoms of the condition can overlap with signs of other illnesses and sometimes people might try to consciously hide the signs to fit in.
Why is it confused with other conditions?
Autism-related disorders are diagnosed on the basis of observation. The healthcare provider might come to a judgement after narrowing down some signs they might see in a patient. The symptoms, however, do overlap with other conditions. Sometimes people who might have autism have a tendency to engage in repetitive or ritualistic actions that overlap with some symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Sometimes autistic people might have other health conditions such as anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, sleep disorders, high blood pressure and others. This can lead to people being diagnosed with the listed conditions and the signs of autism being missed.
As per reports, gender bias also does play a role in the misdiagnosis of autism. Doctors more commonly diagnose autism in boys and men rather than girls and women. As per studies, the diagnostic scale reportedly favors quicker diagnosis among males. Secondly, studies show that women often internalize symptoms and might be better at hiding the signs. Thus, all these factors can lead to a missed diagnosis, an incorrect diagnosis or a late diagnosis.
Due to no well-established objective method of diagnosing autism, it is left to pure observation. The condition is characterized by a wide range of signs such as sensitivity to loud sounds, sleep problems, difficulty in socializing, compulsive actions and others that can often be confused with other health problems that share the same symptoms. The following are a few possible misdiagnoses-